Should ‘a, would ’a, could ’a

Language is a powerful thing, and if hypnosis taught me anything, it was the ability of different words to program the subconscious mind. Which is why I felt bad about something I wrote in my last post… three times. I used the word ‘should’ with regard to tasks I wanted to complete. The connotations around the word ‘should’ are generally negative. It implies that you don’t want to do the task, that you have erred in not doing it, and that there will be bad ramifications from not doing it. And while all these things may be true, this is not a positive way at looking at what needs to be done.

Look at the difference in these next two lines and think about which motivates you to actually perform the task, and which invites you to go searching for the excuse to avoid it;

  • I should write the novel synopsis of my book so I can send it out,
  • It would be good to write the novel synopsis of my book so I can send it out.

Subtle change, but it is one that even your conscious mind can pick up.

Now I don’t want to scare you, but ‘should’ is only the tip of the subconscious-sabotaging iceberg. Can’t is another overused word that could be used less frequently with great benefit to all. But it’s not the worst.

Not too bad is a standard response from many of us when asked how we are or how we enjoyed something. Look at those words. Written on the page the implication is obvious; I’m bad, but not too bad. Really?!? Your subconscious mind (and that of the person you are talking to) will believe you are bad, so perhaps you want to re-think your message?

So next time you want to complete something, think about how your phrase it to yourself. When something is presented as a good thing, we are naturally drawn to do it, when presented as a bad thing, our instincts tell us to run away. Our self-talk can make all the difference to finally getting to that last line of the story, or not getting there; the choice is yours. So what would you like to get done? Write a list, in positive language, pin it up somewhere you can see it and read it often.

Happy writing,


2 thoughts on “Should ‘a, would ’a, could ’a”

  1. So true. I use the word ‘should’ way too often and it does make you feel stressed. I never thought about how otheres interpret these words. G

  2. I think the most damage it does is in how your subconscious mind interprets it. It is amazing the difference in how you feel if you start changing these words. Just do it for a week and you will see the difference -it is scary how well it works!

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